SJHL Game #26 – Melfort Mustangs at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 15-5-5-0 NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars beat Humboldt 4-2. The recap is here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/north-stars-beat-broncos/ Storylines:

  • Taurean White: The North Stars announced yesterday that assistant coach and GM Taurean White has left the team to take over as the head coach with the Mattawa Blackhawks of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. It all happened kind of quickly but in the end this is what the North Stars are all about. Helping people move on to a higher level. And now White gets a chance to take over his own team. Of course we all with White the best as he looks to turn around the Hawks. For the North Stars it creates an opening that they are already looking to fill. The Stars are accepting applications now.
  • Nachtegaele: It sounds like Logan wants to get back in the lineup as soon as possible and he told me he wants to play tonight. I am not sure if that’s going to be possible but when Logan does head back out onto the ice for his next game it will be emotional. His father’s funeral was yesterday and there were hundreds and hundreds of people there. It was amazing to see so many people and goes to show what kind of person Jim was and the impact he had on people. I have also been incredibly impressed with Logan and how he has handled this situation. I can’t wait to see him back out on the ice.
  • Sherwood Division: The Battlefords North Stars have played 7 games so far this season against teams from the very strong Sherwood Division. They are 5-1-1 but 6 of the 7 games have been decided in overtime or a shootout. The only previous meeting between the Stars and Mustangs saw Melfort score twice in less than two minutes before the Stars settled in and came back to win 4-3 in a shootout. In that game Spencer Tremblay let in two goals on two shots and got the hook. Will he get a chance for a little revenge tonight? We shall see.
  • Kramer Division: The Estevan Bruins beat Notre Dame last night so the Stars now have a 3 point cushion on the Hounds for second in the division. The Kindersley Klippers win over Humboldt earlier in the week put the Stars 10 points up on the Broncos. So now the Stars have to set their sights on the Klippers. Kindersley is 6 points ahead and has played 3 more games. They play Melfort tomorrow night in Kindersley. We are about to reach the halfway point of the season and the standings start to take on a little more importance. if the North Stars win tonight they would move into sole possession of second place in the overall league standings as well.
  • WJAC: The tryout camp roster for the World Junior A Challenge Team West was released today. North Stars center Reed Delainey will get a chance to make the team. Unfortunately, he’s the only North Star player to be invited. But hopefully he blows them away at camp and makes the team. There are 8 SJHLers on the camp roster including three from Kindersley which is where the WJAC is being staged.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Jake Calverley 2) Spencer Tremblay 1) Connor Vermeulen
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Ryne Keller
  • Head to Head: Battlefords North Stars 4 – Melfort Mustangs 3 (SO) – Nov. 5th 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Weyburn at Flin Flon, Yorkton at Melville

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Fast Start – After last time these teams met this one is a bit of a no-brainer. The Stars were down 2-0 less than two minutes into the game. I said at the time that at least it was still really early with lots of time for a comeback. But there is no way the Stars want to try and do that again. It’s tough to come from behind in the SJHL and it’s a lot of work. Playing with a lead is the way to go.

2) Speed – This game will be a battle between two teams that can really skate. The game in Melfort was played at a fast pace with end to end action at times. Which ever of these two teams can use their speed more effectively will likely win tonight’s contest.

3) Attack The North Stars have a team that can really push the pace of the game. And when they are in attack mode they can really make life tough for their opposition. If the Stars play their uptempo attacking style they have a great shot to win.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Havens – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Fountain – Keller – Heinrich
Saharchuk – Bond – Townsend
Kanter – Mitchell – Nachtegaele

Scratches: Weston, Leonenko, Delainey

North Stars sign Head Coach and GM to extension

The North Stars announced last night that they have re-signed head coach and GM Kevin Hasselberg to a 2 year contract extension. Darren Huxley informed me of that decision just prior to last night’s game.

Coach Hasselberg is in the 4th year of his tenure with the North Stars and this will be his second 2 year extension following his initial 2 year contract when he was hired back in 2011. The Stars have posted records:

2011-12: 41-15-0-2
2012-13: 26-21-2-5
2013-14: 36-17-0-3
2014-15 (so far): 15-5-5-0

That makes for a combined 118-58-7-10 record good for 253 points out of a possible 386 and a win percentage of 66%. If you win 2 out of every 3 games you are doing a very good job. as for the playoffs, the Stars have lost to Humboldt in a North final, were unexpectedly upset by Melfort in a Survivor series and lost to Melville in a league semi-final.

Coach Hasselberg told me last night on the post game show that he feels this is a top 10 program for all of Junior A hockey in this country in large part thanks to the volunteers, members of the board and of course the fans. I could not agree more. He also said he is proud to continue working in this community and with the North Stars program.

And I am happy to continue to be able to work with coach Hasselberg as well. The North Stars head coach is one of the hardest working people I have ever met and will continue to work hard to bring winning teams to the Battlefords.

Congratulations to coach Hasselberg and his family as well as the North Stars program on the extension.

North Stars beat Broncos

The Battlefords North Stars beat the Humboldt Broncos 4-2 last night at the Civic Center. That’s the second straight Kramer Division win for the Stars.

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The Stars scored the only goal of the opening period when a pass from behind the net ended up loose in the slot and Otto Mitchell blasted a shot past Jack Romanuik in the Humboldt net. Spencer Tremblay picked up where he left off in Notre Dame as he posted 14 saves in the first most of which were of the routine variety. He did go post to post late in the period to get a pad on a shot from Trevor Posch.

The home team had plenty of chances in the second period including a Matt Saharchuk shot after a nice seem pass from Connor Vermeulen. Saharchuk almost scored the rebound on a wrap around jam play but was stopped. Baxter Kanter showed strength late in the second period to shove his man down and center the puck but Jackson Bond just missed a re-direct in front.

The Stars had several odd man rush chances in the game including a Jackson Bond break away in the first period after a steal in the high slot but Bond missed the target. Reed Delainey and Jordan Townsend had a couple of two on ones in the game that they were unable to convert including a rush in the third that was broken up by Greg Moro. Jake McMillen out of the penalty box in the third almost had a two on zero with Jackson Bond but the pass was in his skates and he couldn’t control.

Brenden Heinrich had a couple of rushes in the game that led to scoring chances. Heinrich able to beat the D wide and power to the goal. But he was stopped both times by Jack Romanuik. There were two somewhat unique situations in the game. The first was some 3-on-3 play. After the Stars took a couple of penalties in the same stoppage the Broncos had a full two minutes of 5-on-3. But one of the previously mentioned Brenden Heinrich rushes led to a penalty against Moro and a Broncos 4-on-3 power play. Later in the sequence a tripping call against Matthew Kenney meant the game saw a passage of play at even strength 3-on-3. You don’t see that very often.

I mentioned a chance for a Jake McMillen 2-on-0 breakaway in the third that the Stars just missed after McMillen came out of the penalty box. That was after it looked like McMillen was going to fight. Connor Sych was having none of that though as he stepped in to protect his team mate. Sych won the tilt against Ashton McLeod and each got 5 and a game. McMillen got an unsportsmanlike penalty after he had dropped his gloves. He was ready to fight but Sych wanted to ensure McMillen used his hands for trying to score rather than fighting.

The North Stars also had a few posts in the game as well including a Nick Fountain crossbar in the third period and a Michael Statchuk post in the second period that hit the INSIDE of the post and somehow still stayed out of the net.

With the score still 1-0 in the third the Broncos tied it up. A point shot went wide, hit the end boards and bounced out the far side and right to Kenney who scored. The Stars got their lead back when Connor Vermeulen popped up in front of the net to bat in a rebound. Less than 2 minutes later though the Broncos got another tying goal. Stuart Symenuk popping in a game tying goal.

But Vermeulen turned up again down low in the Broncos zone late in the third and his pass found Brady O’Sullivan who converted for the game winning goal. The Stars killed that late McMillen penalty and then scored a short handed empty netter after Brenden Heinrich had taken a penalty with 1:10 remaining in regulation. The Stars contained the Broncos power play well and Reed Delainey slid the puck down the ice and into the empty net.

I thought Vermeulen was having a strong game before the third period so it was no surprise after scoring a goal and setting up two more it was Vermeulen who was named #1 Star on the Canadian Tire 3 Stars. Spencer Tremblay was solid picking up the second star and his second straight win. And Jake Calverley had perhaps his best game as a North Star. His D pair with Kendall Fransoo was very good all night and very composed when at times, especially in the second period, the Stars struggled to control the puck. Calverley was the third star.

The Stars were solid in the first and third periods and even in the second period when they seemed to be struggling a bit and maybe fighting the puck the still only allowed a couple of scoring chances, very few shots and had several chances to score.

The Bond, Kanter, and Mitchell line was solid once again and have now put together several good games in a row. The Keller, Heinrich and Fountain line was good again as well, especially in the third period. And the Stars got offense from all 4 lines as well as the D in a solid 4-2 win over a divisional opponent.

The North Stars next game in Friday at the Civic Center versus Melfort.

SJHL Game #25 – Humboldt Broncos at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 14-5-5-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars beat Notre Dame 1-0. The recap is here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/stars-win-in-notre-dame/

Storylines:

  • Trade: The Battlefords North Stars have dealt Adam Smith to the Miramichi Timberwolves of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League in exchange for future considerations. Smith was in his first year with the team after being acquired in the off-season. Smith is a young man with great character and he will be missed but hopefully he finds a role with the Timberwolves that allows him to excel in his 20 year old season. All the best Smitty.
  • Divisional: The North Stars are playing their second straight divisional game. They are now 3-3-3 in games against the Kramer Division. They are 2-2-2 against the Klippers and 1-1 against Notre Dame. So they only have a losing record against the Broncos after Humboldt won their only previous meeting this season.
  • Shutouts: Spencer Tremblay now leads the SJHL with 3 shutouts. That’s one more than anyone else has so far. Adam Beukeboom in Flin Flon has two shutouts so far in just 4 starts. Alexi Thibodeau, in Notre Dame, and Jack Burgart, in Weyburn, also have 2. It’s surprising to not see Evan Weninger near the top of the list. Tremblay has two shutouts in his last 4 starts and has allowed just 7 goals in total in his last 4 with just 4 of those goals coming at even strength.
  • Hockey Tour: The Hockey Canada 100th Anniversary Tour will be set up outside the Civic Center tonight. The Tour is making 100 stops across the country in hockey communities. This is stop number 26 so far. There will be trailers set up in the Civic Center parking lot from 3-8pm leading up to the game and wrapping up not long after puck drop.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Baxter Kanter 2) Ryne Keller 1) Spencer Tremblay
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Jake Calverly
  • Head to Head: Humboldt Broncos 4 – Battlefords North Stars 3 (OT) – Nov. 12th 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Nipawin at Melville, Weyburn at Melfort

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Alert – The Broncos did some strange things last time these two teams met including having a player hang out in the neutral zone while 4 players defended in their own zone. That actually did result in a goal for the Broncos in one case. The Stars will have to be alert to these types of plays as the Broncos under Ryan Smith will try some bold plays.

2) Take Care of the Puck – The North Stars made mistakes last time out against Humboldt that led to goals against including bad line changes and turnovers of the puck. It felt like they beat themselves. When they were in control of the puck and sharp with their execution they didn’t have a lot of problems.

3) Duplicate The Stars won a big divisional game two nights ago. They did it by being very much in control in their own zone. They took short shifts. They were smart with the puck. They didn’t give the Hounds much offensively. And when they did have a mistake or a breakdown their goalie was there to stand tall and make the saves. If they duplicate that performance they will win.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Fransoo – Calverley
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Erickson – Sych

Fountain – Keller – Heinrich
Saharchuk – Delainey – Townsend
Havens – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Kanter – Bond – Mitchell

Scratches: Weston, Nachtegaele, Leonenko

Stars win in Notre Dame

The North Stars won 1-0 in Notre Dame. Ryne Keller scored the winner in the third set up by Baxter Kanter.

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Spencer Tremblay posted a 26 save shutout. His third of the season. He made a number of key saves. In the second period a double pad stack save that really stands out. And then in the third he dove back to get his stick up against the post and prevent a potential jam play at the side of the goal. There were a few others as well. That’s now 3 of his last 4 starts where Spencer has been very much in top of his game. In those games he’s allowed ZERO goals at 5-on-5. It’s a shame that he was a little off in Estevan but the confidence and consistency is coming for Tremblay.

The line of Baxter Kanter, Jackson Bond and Otto Mitchell had a very good game in Notre Dame. Kanter’s shot set up the game winner as Keller was on hand to pop home the rebound. Kanter also drew a penalty late in the third period. That wasn’t the first time this weekend that he drew a penalty either. His speed was on display on the big ice and in total that line really did some nice things with the puck.

It was a somewhat quiet game offensively for both the McMillen line and the Delainey line. But both were pretty good in their own end of the ice helping contribute to the shutout.

A player who didn’t make it on to the Canadian Tire 3 Stars but maybe should have been at least an honourable mention was Jake Erickson. All 6 of the Stars D had very good performances. Jake Calverley was composed and solid in his own end and made several really nice break out passes as well. His pair with Kendall Fransoo and the pair of Statchuk and Vermeulen were both excellent. But I thought that when Erickson was on the ice the game was being played at his pace. He was skating really well and on the big ice his skating was having a big impact. He controlled play in his own zone as well. His play has been improving of the course of the season and now the Stars have a really solid D corps. When Brock Weston is back to full health it will be even deeper.

And of course it was Fountain, Keller and Heinrich on the ice in the final 40 seconds of the game and that shift really summed up the Stars effort. With Statchuk and Erickson out as well the Stars had 6 players on the ice that are all 20 year old guys. They wanted that veteran presence on the ice and it paid off big time. The forwards barely let the Hounds out of their own zone and when they did get to the neutral zone the road team forced a turnover and got the puck back in deep. In the end a battling shift from the Stars meant that the Hounds never did get Alexi Thibodeau to the bench for the extra attacker.

At the end of a difficult road trip the Stars managed to pull out a very important victory. Winning the third game of a three game road trip down south is never easy. But they were able to execute their game plan really well. It says a lot about the charcater of the group that they were able to win that big divisional game yesterday.

And now they have another big divisional game tomorrow when they host Humboldt at the Civic Center.

Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Baxter Kanter 2) Ryne Keller 1) Spencer Tremblay
San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Jake Calverley for a first period hit in the corner that took out two Hound players.

SJHL Game #24 – Battlefords North Stars at Notre Dame Hounds

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 13-5-5-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 4:15
  • Puck drop – 4:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost 3-2 in Weyburn last night. After a scoreless first period the Red Wings took a lead in the second period. Braden Mellon snapped a shot through traffic that beat Rewerts on the blocker side. Then Josh Lees powered off the wall and slid a shot through the 5 hole of Rewerts.

Later in the period Baxter Kanter threw a good check that led to a Bond and Kanter 2-on-1. They couldn’t score but Kanter drew a penalty for hooking. The Stars couldn’t score on that power play but late in the PP drew another penalty. Behind the play Ryan Rewerts was tripped or maybe just fell but either way that got a reaction from the Wings bench. Rewerts must have said something that Wings coach Bryce Thoma didn’t like because he started yelling at the ref. That led to Thoma taking an unsportsmanlike penalty. So the Stars ended the second period on a 5-on-3 power play. They didn’t score though and started the third still on the PP.

The got a 5-on-3 goal early in the second when a Jake Erickson point shot was deflected home by Jake McMillen. The stat sheet is not correct at this point but none the less it was 2-1. The Stars got another power play later in the period but that led to Matt Eng being tripped on a breakaway and a penalty shot followed. Eng beat Rewerts on the glove side, post and in.

As the third dragged on the Stars had a chance to get within a goal. But Michael Statchuk’s shot hit the crossbar and went out of play. With the net empty for the extra attacker the Stars got a goal. Jake McMillen again banging a puck home at the side of the net.

But there were just 3.3 seconds remaining and not enough time for the Stars to force overtime. The shots on the stat sheet showed the Stars had 15 in the third and the Wings had 2. The Stars coaching staff was happy with the effort and the way their team played. But again stressed that this team can’t take a shift off or make a mistake because they are being punished when those mistakes happen. They have to play a clean game with limited mistakes and play a full 60.

In the end the Stars battled and did some good things last night. But fell short in a come back attempt and lost 3-2. They try to get back in the win column this afternoon.

Storylines:

  • Divisional: The Stars and Hounds play an all Kramer Division matchup tonight. Those games are always important. Especially so tonight. The Stars haven’t done very well so far against their own division. 0-1 versus Notre Dame, 0-1 versus Humboldt and we know about the games versus Kindersley (2-2-2). So in Kramer Division meeting the Stars 2-4-2 so far.
  • Standings: The North Stars are still 8 points back of Kindersley with 4 games in hand. They are now a point back of Notre Dame in the division as well. A Stars win moves them back into second in the division and keeps them on a pace to tie the Klippers atop the division. A Notre Dame win means the Hounds have a chance to close in on first in the division and the Stars would let slip one of their games in hand. Not quite at the halfway mark the standings are still taking shape though.
  • Big Ice: Always a story when the team heads to Notre Dame. The big ice impacts the game in a number of ways. Including making it a little extra tough for the Stars. They will have some tired legs by the end of the game and will have a lot of ice to cover. But this is a team that has done well on this road trip in the past because they work hard even when tired.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Matt Eng 2) Jake McMillen 1) Jack Burgart
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Baxter Kanter
  • Head to Head: Notre Dame Hounds 3 – Battlefords North Stars 1 – Nov. 1st 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Estevan at Notre Dame, Kindersley at Melfort, Flin Flon at Melville, Yorkton at La Ronge

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Saves  – From past experience this is a game that sometimes requires the Stars to ride their goalie at times. Last year I remember a Darren Martin performance and almost shutout that was huge. You need a big save and timely key saves in order to win in Notre Dame.

2) Special Teams – When you are playing a third game in a little less than three nights you need to take advantage of power play chances. You also want to try and stay out of the box but when you are whistled for a penalty the PK has to step up. Special teams can win or lose a close game which is what we are expecting tomorrow.

3) Positioning  – The big ice in Notre Dame means that if you get out of position it can be hard to recover. Especially if the puck carrier is carrying speed. The Stars will need to remain compact and remember that the width of the ice is the same between the dots. Outside of that is real estate that you can concede in order to keep your structure.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Saharchuk – Delainey – Townsend
Havens – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Heinrich – Keller – Fountain
Kanter – Bond – Mitchell

Scratches: Weston, Leonenko, Smith, Nachtegaele

SJHL Game #23 – Battlefords North Stars at Weyburn Red Wings

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 13-4-5-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars actually played a pretty good first period last night despite finding themselves down 2-0 after the opening period. David Robertson opened the scoring and then a loose puck came to Josh Rieger in the slot area and he blasted a shot past Termblay. So that made it 2-0 after the first.

The Stars came out firing in the second period and tied the game. Jake McMillen was the screen in front and a Connor Sych point shot went through the screen and past Tyler Gutenberg. That was the first ever Junior A goal for Sych. The Stars tied the game later in the period during a period of 4-on-4 play. Brady O’Sullivan and Jake McMillen went straight forward off the face-off and got a shot on net. O’Sullivan found the rebound and after kicking the puck free was able to poke a back hand shot past Gutenberg. The Stars were out shooting the Bruins 23-15 after two periods and deservedly tied in the game.

They fell behind early in the third on a Wyatt Garagan goal. A fluttering puck bounced right in front of Spencer Tremblay, he made the save but before he could cover the rebound Garagan got a stick on it to force the Bruins back into a lead. It lasted less than 30 seconds. Matt Havens made a nifty little pass through his legs and from below the goal line was able to get a pass out to O’Sullivan who buried his second of the game. Two goals in less than a minute as the third period started with some fire works.

The Bruins were back in front later in the period when Lynden Pastachak scored short-handed. And that’s the way it stayed for about 8 minutes as the Stars swarmed but couldn’t tie the game. They had a number of good shifts after the goal to try and get back into a tie. The power play looked sharp as well. They were moving the puck well and creating chances, getting shots and forcing the Bruins to play at the speed and tempo that the North Stars wanted. But no goals.

That was until the last minute of play with Spencer Tremblay on the bench for the extra attacker. A Michael Statchuk point shot was deflected home by Jake McMillen to tie the game. For McMillen that was his third point of the game. He was on the ice for all 4 goals that the North Stars scored. It seems that he is starting to really click with Brady O’Sullivan and Matt Havens and that’s now a very dangerous looking line.

In overtime the North Stars were called for a tripping penalty. It was the first time they had taken a penalty in the entire game. And after 4 Stars power plays the Bruins got their first. They capitalized. After a poor line change by the Stars the Bruins had a couple chances before a loose puck came to Charles Manley and he was able to hit the open net with a pile up in front. So after coming back three times in the game the Stars couldn’t get the win but did pick up a point.

Storylines:

  • Overtime: The trend continues for the North Stars. Now 13 overtime games out of 23. I’ve never seen anything similar in my time following hockey teams and broadcasting games. It’s been fun. The intensity of close games and overtimes plus the excitement of shootouts is always fun. And if the Stars are learning from these experiences they may well be better for it down the line.
  • Wings: This is the third meeting between these two teams in a little over a week. The Stars will have played 3 of 4 against Weyburn by the end of the night. The Stars won both games last week but one was in a shootout and in the other they have to come from behind in the third period. So they were close difficult games.
  • Standings: The North Stars are a point ahead of Notre Dame for second in the Kramer Division. All these games are huge because this league is so tight this season. The Stars are battling with a couple teams near the top of the standings. The Wings are battling near the bottom. So these games are just as big for them. They looked solid at the Civic Center last weekend so it’s a bit surprising to see where they are in the standings. But they did get off to a terrible start and have been better since. They’ll make a strong push for a playoff spot.
  • Aldergrove: The Wings recently added two players to their roster. Jeremy Lagler and Stephen Ryan who are both from Langley, BC and both played for the Junior B team in my hometown of Aldergrove. It’s exciting for me to see a couple kids from my area of the world playing in the league.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Connor Sych 2) Jake McMillen 1) Brady O’Sullivan
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Nick Saharchuk
  • Head to Head:
    North Stars 1 – Red Wings 0 Nov 14th 2014
    North Stars 3 – Red Wings 2 Nov 16th 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Estevan at Notre Dame, Kindersley at Melfort, Flin Flon at Melville, Yorkton at La Ronge

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Transition  – The North Stars did a lot of things well last night especially with the puck. But the Stars did struggle at times with the quick transition of the Bruins. That’s one area they will look to improve.

2) Line Changes: Another area the Stars struggled was in line changes. Coach Hasselberg mentioned it in the postgame show. They need to be more sharp with their changes. And keep the shifts short. They have three games this weekend so keeping fresh legs on the ice is important.

3) Forecheck  – The North Stars need to maintain an aggressive forecheck tonight. There were plenty of chances to create turnovers last night when the Stars used their speed to pressure the Bruins D. That same principle applies in every game. If they fly to the puck and get physical they can create a lot of turnovers and create a lot of offensive scoring chances.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Erikson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Saharchuk – Delainey – Townsend
Havens – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Fountain – Keller – Heinrich
Kanter – Bond – Mitchell

Scratches: Weston, Smith, Leonenko, Nactegaele

SJHL Game #22 – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins

It’s with a heavy heart I write this update tonight. Logan Nachtegaele did not travel with the team this weekend in order to be with his family and his father who has been sick. We found out this afternoon that Logan’s father Jim has passed away. Today is also Logan’s birthday which to me just makes this even more heartbreaking. I want to express my deepest condolences to Logan and his family. I hope Jim is able to find peace and hopefully he has a great view of North Stars games in the future. I am glad he got to see his son live out his dream of playing for the North Stars.

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 13-4-4-0 NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars beat the Weyburn Red Wings 3-2 at the Civic Center. The recap lives here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/north-stars-win-again/ photo(1)

Storylines:

  • Respect: The Battlefords North Stars have won 5 of their last 6 games and haven’t lost in regulation since November 1st. They are 13-4-4 on the season and in second in the Kramer Division based on win percentage. They are nationally recognized with an honourable mention in the CJHL’s Top 20. Yet they were placed 7th in the SJHL’s “Power Rankings” and not one of their players was on the “Who’s Hot” list. Are they getting the respect they deserve? I have to ask myself if I have been too hard on this team. Have I been focusing too much on the process and not enough on the results? I am not sure. There needs to be a balance there I think and I will look to find a better balance moving forward. As for the team it may be time to start forming an “us against the world” type mentality if they haven’t already.
  • Award: Despite not being in the “Who’s Hot” list, Spencer Tremblay was named the SJHL’s goalie of the week. Tremblay was 2-0 last week, stopped 73 of 75 shots, had a shutout and didn’t give up a goal at even strength. It’s the third weekly award for a North Star after Connor Vermeulen picked up a defenseman of the week award and Jordan Townsend picked up a rookie of the week award. In his last 7 games Tremblay is 4-2 with a 1.71 GAA and 0.939 save percentage. (and that includes the two goals on two shots game in Melfort) He’s been outstanding.
  • 3 in 3: The Stars have a tough schedule this weekend. It’s never easy to go down south and win 3 games in 3 days. The Estevan Bruins are not as bad as that 9-2 game might suggest. Weyburn showed at the Civic Center that they work hard and are not easy to beat. Notre Dame is one of the top teams in the league so far. The Stars will need to rely on their conditioning, depth and goaltending this weekend.
  • Family: The North Stars have a few players from Minnesota on the team. Jake McMillen is from southern Saskatchewan as well. And Spencer Tremblay is from Manitoba. I am not entirely sure who is going to have family in town for the games. But I know there are some families coming up from the US. There is usually a decent little group of North Stars fans when the team heads south and I expect that to be the case this weekend.
  • Kramer Division: The Kindersley Klippers have lost 2 in a row falling in La Ronge and Flin Flon. They are still on the road. Talk about a tough road trip? 4 in 5 nights and after dropping the first two they are in Nipawin tonight and Melfort tomorrow. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Klippers win their next two as they are a very good team but those aren’t easy games to win. So the Kramer Division is a lot tighter than it was earlier this week. Also this week, Humboldt lost to Melville and Notre Dame lost to Melfort. So the Kramer is struggling a bit this week. Last night, Humboldt and Notre Dame went head to head. The Hounds
  • Spectra Place: It’s not called that anymore. It’s called Afinity Place and that’s something I will have to adjust to at some point. But the picture I posted above is a couple years old. Anyway, the point is that it’s a fantastic facility. Gorgeous, functional, and a treat to broadcast from. I always enjoy games in Estevan.
  • Road: The North Stars have the league’s best road record. And since they’ve been at home for a while it’s been a while since I have been able to point that out. Only Kindersley has a better home record than the North Stars road record. The Stars have an 0.850 win percentage on the road. That’s remarkable and hopefully improves this weekend.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Nick Fountain 2) Spencer Tremblay (And the team’s D) 1) Ryne Keller
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Nick Fountain
  • Head to Head: North Stars 9 – Bruins 2 – Oct 18th 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Kindersley at Nipawin, Yorkton at La Ronge

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Forget  – The Stars beat Estevan 9-2 the last time they met. The Stars need to forget about that game. That was at a time when the Bruins were really struggling and having a really bad week. That’s not representative of what to expect in tonight’s game. The Bruins at home are a tough team to play against. Always have been tough at home and I suspect always will be. They will work hard, be gritty and if the Stars think it’s going to be easy it could be a long night.

2) Puck Battles: Against the Red Wings on Sunday the North Stars were in control, or seemed to be in control, for most of the game. Even when they were behind it never felt like they wouldn’t get back into the game. Where the Stars performance really took off though was when they started winning puck battles. Seemingly all of them in the third period went to the Stars. They have the speed and skill up front and a solid D with great goaltending. When they are winning battles they are winning games. You don’t have to be big and strong to win a puck battle either. There are more ways than one to do that job. On home ice the Bruins will be working their tails off so if the Stars can match that and win puck battles they give themselves the best possible chance to win the game.

3) Free  – The Stars have played their best this season when they play with a bit more freedom. The creativity in the offensive zone really comes out when they play that way. They have the monkey off their backs and have the first home win. So tonight a key will be to play with a little more freedom, creativity, and fun. When they do that they can be potent. (I stole this directly from my pregame blog from the last time the Stars played the Bruins. It worked then so let’s see if it works again.)

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Statchuk – Vermeulen
Erickson – Sych
Calverley – Fransoo

Fountain – Keller – Heinrich
Saharchuk – Delainey – Townsend
Havens – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Kanter – Bond – Mitchell

Scratches: Weston, Smith, Leonenko, Nachtegaele

Great day for the North Stars

The Battlefords North Stars had a good night last night without even hitting the ice.

First, goalie Spencer Tremblay was named the SJHL’s goalie of the week. Tremblay posted 2 wins last week in his 2 starts. He stopped 40 shots for a shutout on Friday versus Weyburn. He also stopped all 3 shooters in the shootout as the Stars won 1-0. Two nights later, again versus Weyburn, the Stars goalie was strong. He made 33 saves on 35 shots to pick up a come from behind 3-2 victory. Both those goals against were power play markers so that’s back to back games that Tremblay, and his team mates as well, didn’t allow a goal at 5-on-5.

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So far on the season Tremblay is 8-3-3 with a 2.58 goals against average and he’s stopped 91.7% of the shots he has faced. Tremblay has posted 2 shutouts.

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On the ice last night games went well from a North Stars perspective. All 3 Kramer Division rivals lost in regulation last night. The La Ronge Ice Wolves beat Kindersley 6-4. Edam native Jared and Joel Blaquiere each had a goal in the win.The Klippers have a very tough schedule this week. They head to Flin Flon tonight and then after a day off head to Nipawin which this season is going to be a very tough place to go on the road and pick up a win. Kindersley’s 4th game in 5 nights will be Saturday when they visit the Sherwood leading Melfort Mustangs. The Kippers will pick up some wins from this trip as they are too good to lost 3 or 4 in a row. But it’s a tough schedule and with last night’s loss the gap between the Klippers and the Stars didn’t grow. The North Stars have 3 games in hand on the Klippers and are 7 points back in the Kramer.

Also last night, the Humboldt Broncos lost to the Melville Millionaires 5-2. And Melfort beat Notre Dame 4-3.

North Stars win again

The North Stars came from behind to beat Weyburn last night at the Civic Center, 3-2 the final score.

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The Stars got off to a bit of a slow start yesterday falling behind 1-0 after the opening frame. They were also out shot 17-15 in the first period. But I didn’t think the shots or the score necessarily reflected the overall play. The Stars certainly got better as the game went on but I felt the first period on balance was pretty even.If it wasn’t for a high number of Red Wing shot blocks, including two big ones from former North Star Alex Bechtold, the shots and score may have looked a lot different.

Spencer Tremblay was once again rock solid for the Stars but it was the Red Wings power play that put them on top. Drake Glover was teed up for a one timer with traffic in front and he ripped a shot past Tremblay to open the scoring

The North Stars power play has been coming alive of later and it struck twice yesterday. The first was a Jake Erickson point shot with traffic in front. A great screen from Brenden Heinrich and Erickson beat Jack Burgart to tie the game. That was Erickson’s first of the season. But later in the period the Wings got another goal on the man advantage to move back in front. A sharp angle shot from Brendan McKay slipped through Tremblay and went in just inside the far post. That made it 2-1 after 40.

It probably should have been tied though or maybe even the Stars should have been in front. They had chances. I still don’t know how Logan Nachtegaele didn’t score his first ever North Stars goal. He had a literal handful of chances in the game with one glorious chance just catching the jersey of Burgart and going wide. Another bouncing puck wouldn’t settle for Logan to pop it into the net. That line did it’s job very nicely and Baxter Kanter had a backhand one timer that almost got past Burgart as well.

The Stars hadn’t won when trailing after 40 yet this season before last night. The comeback started on the first shift. The Stars moved Brenden Heinrich onto a line with Ryne Keller and Nick Fountain. On the very first shift of the third that line came out flying and really set the tone for the period. It was all North Stars after that. They were dominant. They may have been helped by the Wings playing their third game in three nights but they took advantage as they were grinding out puck battle after puck battle and keeping the Wings hemmed in their own zone.

A Reed Delainey point shot got by Burgart for the Stars second PP goal of the game. There was a screen in front from Nick Fountain. Delainey’s 10th of the year tied the game at 2. Later in the period a point shot from Michael Statchuk deflected and then bounced off Nick Fountain and into the net. For Fountain that’s goal number 5 and it turned out to be the game winner. The Stars could have had more and in the end I think the score didn’t reflect the overall game as much as maybe the shots did. Burgart really kept his team in the game.

With Heinrich moved onto a line with Fountain and Keller that left Matt Havens to play with Jake McMillen and Brady O’Sullivan. I like the look of that unit. Havens ended up on the score sheet in the game but that line could have had a couple goals as well. In the third all four lines and the defense all looked dangerous.

The game wasn’t without some controversy though as the Wings thought they scored with the net empty late in the game. The referee though had blown his whistle and waived it off immediately. Wings head coach Bryce Thoma was livid and let the ref know about it after the final horn.

The North Stars went 2-5 on the power play. The Wings were 2-4. The final shots were 41-35 North Stars.

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The Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Nick Fountain 2) Spencer Tremblay and his team’s D 1) Ryne Keller
San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Nick Fountain for a second period hit on Bechtold

The North Stars will now head south for a weekend set against Estevan (Friday), Weyburn (Saturday) and Notre Dame (Sunday).